The Slight Edge

Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success and Happiness

  • Amazon #1 bestseller
  • #1 bestseller
  • USA Today Top 100 nonfiction

Back in the ancient times of 2005, I was handed a few early drafts of a self-help book and a CD of Jeff Olson speaking, and spent a few months writing what turned out to be a little book called The Slight Edge. The book spread like wildfire and soon became an underground bestseller. In 2008 the publishers put out a revised edition, adding some testimonials and some new material. I was not involved in that revision, but had always wished we could take the book a little further. Maybe on its tenth anniversary? I thought.

That wish came true. (And I didn’t even have to wait ten years.)

Throughout the early months of 2013, I worked with Jeff and the people at Success on the project, and by that November we published a completely revised, enhanced, and expanded “8th Anniversary Edition.”

The new edition is completely re-edited, line by line and word by word. I took a few old bits out, and added a whole lot more new bits in. There’s an entirely new chapter called “The Secret of Happiness” (its core message is that success doesn’t lead to happiness — it’s the other way around) and another on the business of creating ripples on the pond of life and leaving a legacy. A good deal more on Jeff’s own story and how he has applied these ideas to his own business success. And more.

I had the chance to say a whole lot we hadn’t quite said the first time round. It was like getting to have a massive do-over. How often does that happen? Ahhh. Satisfying.

The Slight Edge Reviews

The Slight Edge makes you aware of the unwritten rules that we all live by but just weren’t aware of. Jeff explains these principles in an easy-to-understand manner that will have you re-evaluating those ‘insignificant’ decisions you make every day.”
— John C. Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Law of Leadership

“Success in life comes one day at a time and, as Jeff Olson suggests, one step at a time. The Slight Edge will show you how your daily decisions can be the ultimate key to your success.”
— Ken Blanchard, The One Minute Manager

“This fast-moving book teaches you one of the most powerful, practical, and important success principles ever discovered. It can change your life.”
— Brian Tracy, The Way to Wealth

Excerpt from The Slight Edge

I want to tell you about two friends I’ve known since I was a kid, guys from my old neighborhood in New Mexico. These two characters grew up together, went to school together, graduated together, and roomed in college together. They were both pretty personable guys, and I got along with both of them. They had identical childhoods, though, and by high school they had both earned reputations as mischief-makers. Still, they both had more than enough drive and ambition to make up for whatever strikes they had against them. When you add it all up, in terms of their skills and potential, I would say they were evenly matched. In fact, they were almost identical in every way.

Every way except one—which was the different paths they took, and where they led.

The first friend dropped out of college, moved from New Mexico to Daytona Beach, Florida, the spring break capital of the world, where he became a beach bum, lifted weights, chased girls, and let his blond hair grow long and curly. People started calling him Gorgeous George, after the WWE wrestler who brought pro wrestling into America’s living rooms. My friend was pretty popular, in a big-fish-in-a-small-pond way. But he was a beach bum, cutting golf greens to make ends meet, sweating in the sun while he lugged around bags of golf clubs for the wealthy. Frustrated and unhappy, he eventually left Daytona Beach and went back to New Mexico, where he went into business for himself. And what happened? The business failed and Gorgeous George lost everything.

Then there was my other friend, Gorgeous George’s buddy. As an adult, this guy led a charmed life. Graduating from college as an A-student, he went on to business school and graduated in the top of his class, then got recruited by a gigantic tech firm, built a stellar résumé, and went on to create a string of entrepreneurial ventures, each one more successful than the last. Today his life is rich in every way. He has a beautiful, amazing daughter, thousands of friends around the world, runs a record-breakingly successful company, and is happy beyond measure. Yet he still stays in touch with his childhood friend the beach bum.

In fact, they stay in very close touch.

I often think about these two guys, because I know that I could have been either one of them. Matter of fact, I was. Because here’s the one piece of the story I left out: the reason those two guys were roommates all those years, and the reason they are still in constant contact today, is that they are one and the same person.

They’re both me.

That college dropout who became a frustrated beach bum, who eventually took his shot at business but bottomed out there too? That was yours truly.

That straight-A college graduate who went on to create one business success after another, who became a millionaire with a fabulous family, friends all over the world and a richly happy, fulfilled life? Guilty as charged.

I’ve been blessed with a lot of success in my life. But I sure didn’t start out that way. I started out as Gorgeous George the college-dropout golf-greens-cutter. And I’ll tell you a secret: I’m the same person today that I was then. Not that I haven’t changed a lot through my experiences; we all do that. What I mean is, deep down inside, I’m really no different than I was then. It’s not as if I had any sort of lightning-strike overnight transformation. I did not go to a mountaintop, did not experience enlightenment, did not have a near-death experience that showed me the truth of universal brotherhood. (Although I did go through some pretty terrible failures that at the time sure felt like near-death experiences.)

I didn’t change who I was as much as I changed what I did.

I didn’t change who I am, because no matter what the gurus and therapists might tell you, I don’t believe any of us can really do that. I mean, we are who we are. The kid who became a frustrated beach bum was never anything but average: average at schoolwork, average at sports, average in social skills. The incredibly fortunate and deeply happy man I am today is still that average kid, no more, no less, and I say that without an ounce of false modesty. The only reason I’ve made the transformation from there to here is that, somewhere along the way, I’ve had the good fortune of being exposed to the slight edge.

How I got from there to here—and how you can get from wherever you are to wherever you want to be—is what this book is about.

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